Daily Prompt: Never been mellow? Me?

DAILY PROMPT: After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

I work 5 days a week, and I usually don’t end my day until closer to midnight.  I do get a chance to unwind an hour or two (if I’m lucky) before I finally go off to bed after the dishes and the food left over from dinner have been taken cared of.  It’s Friday and I’m trying not to overthink the prompt, so let me just enumerate the things that I do to wind down, spend some “me” time, and just chill.

1.  I catch up on my favorite shows, and actually stop whatever I am doing to watch if I can.   From its inception to last night’s episode, SCANDAL has been a staple of my Thursday night.  It’s just about the only show I can watch an episode of over and over again, one after the other.  (Think about repeating a song on your playlist over and over again like one extended loop.)  I love Shonda Rhimes, what can I say.  And I love Olivia Pope and Kerry Washington who plays her all the more.  Criminal Minds, Elementary and Grey’s Anatomy along with NCIS (who doesn’t love Mark Harmon?) can be watched on demand.  (Thank you Time Warner Cable!)

2.  I pick up my tools and I try to create a piece or experiment with my beads.  I know, I’ve been talking about this a while now.  And while I haven’t quite picked up the pace, I’ve started to re-organize, expirement again (project of the moment is wire-wrapping which I am having a ball with!), and I’ve relisted some items in the shop.  (Even managed one sale.)

Art journaling: zen tangled face3.  I write/draw an entry into my Art Journal, or do a background further on in the altered book I’ve been using.  Two projects in one.  I try to write a sentence or so everyday although sometimes, I don’t have the energy even for that.  Last night, I scribbled a line.  It’s a line a friend had shared with me.  Gives me pause to think even when I’m just doing the lettering or fonts without actually scribbling an entry.

I like the way my art journal has evolved because now I dare to draw faces, and I am getting more disciplined in doodling — so much so that I actually make an effort to stay within the rather strict zentangling guidelines of sticking to “official patterns”.

But it’s the daily exercise of actually getting something down on the pages of the journal that provides me a release.

4.  I play slots online — but only for free, never for pay.  There’s something about the rolling of the slots that I find relaxing.  Maybe it’s hypnotizing me into playing some more?  I never click on the purchase credits, though, and I wouldn’t dream of gambling.  I just like going through the motions even if there is actually no monetary reward involved.

I’m not really a highly-strung type of person except when I’m upset.  No matter how busy life may get, I coast along and take life as it comes.  Emotions are a different thing, though.  When it gets rough and I am on the verge of whatever, I pray.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Art Journaling and Chunky Agate Beads

Art journaling onTrying to keep a steady pace of output can be a challenge but I’m pushing myself to the limit.  The point is not to aim to finish a piece or to complete the work. You do it a little at a time.

How I envy those who can finish one whole layout in one sitting.  I’m not quite there yet.  There are days when I get swept up with all that’s happening around me and I don’t even open my altered book or pick up my tools.  So I’m grateful when I do get the chance and I begin a new project or continue something already started — because there are many days when I just end up not accomplishing anything related to the things I’m passionate about.

Chunky Agate Bead PendantI fell in love with these beads a while back and had them in my stash but they were tucked away in their leopard print brown bag. I finally figured out a way to pull them together the way I wanted them instead of the way it was strung together originally from the bead store. I’m not quite happy with the wire wrapping but I’m wearing this pendant around my neck just to give me an idea about how it actually feels when it’s worn. I think I will re-do or add more wire this evening, but I like it just as it is for now.

It’s rough on one side and smooth on the other, but the rough side has a whole lot of oomph and character.  I just need to refine the wire wrapping and the bead placement.  I’m all excited by the possibilities but even more excited by the thought that I’m creating again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I can get these done by the weekend so I can post one or two in the store as new offerings.

I dream of the day when I can set aside time to do only the things I want to do and not the things I need to do to be able to do the things I want to do.  That statement is meant to make sense only to me. (Reminder to self: Buy lotto.)

One of these days, I’ll set aside a whole day and do just that: do the things I want to do.  So maybe I’ll spend the day in the city or just hop on a long distance train ride to somewhere and come back — just like that.  It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing once every say — two months or so… Just me time by myself not too far away from where I actually am.  It’s a thought.

 

 

 

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (Another Multi-page Layout)

Here is the second multi-page layout in my altered book which spells out BELIEVE through various pages. The totality of the pages looks like this:
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) -1
I wanted to be able to write about ‘believing in happiness’ again by reinforcing this through “happines” quotes throughout the layout. I used the MISERABLE Font and found the right size that would enable me to spread out the “e-l-i-e-v” in a two-page layout and then have “b” and the last “e” fold out from outside the two pages as you see above.

I tried to do the embellishments in the various spreads using the same theme, which were watercolor and pen layered flower doodles which I did individually then pasted onto the book. I also printed the Happiness quotes on kraft paper.

If you look at the alpha sizes, the ‘B’ is pronouncedly bigger than the rest as in a Title Case.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 2

The scribblings in ink around the watercolor flowers came at the same time as the journaling. I had to fill in the empty space and show a more cohesive background beyond the colors, so I did this for every layout.

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 3

I didn’t let my journaling be confined by the pagination.  In face the entry for this day continues onto the next journaling box which had to be after the middle page layout of the ‘l-i” which I filled in instead with a sun doodle which is a favorite graphic of mine.  (Easy to do and literally shines with positivity.)
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 4

 Here you’ll see the tiny journaling space which I wrote on anyway to finish the entry from the previous journaling box.

 

Art Journal Every Day: Believe
When I do my journal entries here, I don’t really care about breaking up the words in syllables or whether or not it comes out readable. I write very spontaneously, and I keep in mind that the only person who should understand what I wrote or tried to write is me.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 6
For this next layout, I had a lot of space and decided to be more playful with the whole layout, putting in a pen outline of my face which was a reproduction from a photo.

Although it isn’t anything like the watercolor photos decribed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blogpost/tutorial on Super Easy Watercolor Portraits.  It was easier, too, that I had used a ‘line drawing’ version of the photo I chose for this.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 7

Much of the right side was watercolor on a book page which would have made it difficult to write the entry, so I pasted one of my grid watercolor backgrounds onto the page and journaled there.  This whole layout made room for a total of 3 days’ journaling which was an added bonus.  I could’ve done a fourth on my face but I liked the way I traced the impression on the page and decided to keep it as it.

So can you believe all that evolved from this?

 Art Journal Every Day-BELIEVE original

Art Journal Every Day: “Life isn’t fair but God is”

My journal entries are very raw and frank that is why while I used to share my journaling openly, I’ve opted to blur the journaling this time around. I’ve also used my entries to encourage myself to move forward and be more optimistic. For the most part, it’s a continuing effort. But at the end of the day, just seeing the entries that are already done gives me a sense of accomplishment. To me, it’s a very concrete manifestation of physically moving forward which helps me motivation-wise.

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close upsHere’s a layout that I rendered by doing layers of text. First, there’s a highlighter background rendering of the lyrics of a favorite song of mine by Rupert Holmes, “Touch and Go”.

There are two main lines here (totally unrelated to the song) but they are really visible only when you look closely it have the book in your hands.

On the left is the title of this post: “Life isn’t fair but God is.”
Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups
Then under the main journal entry which I wrote using a black fine sharpie, I write “It will get better.”

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups

It’s very busy but that was the whole point of layering the texts with minimal drawings. I had started doodling these type of flower scribbles when I was in high school and haven’t really used them in any layout so I did on this one.

This is how it end up looking once done:
Art Journal Every Day: Life isn't fair but God is"

Til the next entry..

Organizing this corner of the web

30daysICONI know I should’ve done it sooner, but with another journal/blog prompt project coming up, I finally put up a 30 Days of Blogging Prompts page which is a subpage of Journal Prompts which you will find on the menu up in my navigation bar. 

I successfully completed the printed version but just now realized I did not get to post all the entries I meant to post online. I’ll try to do that in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to complete my first 20 of an online swap off of a hundred ideas/prompts from swap-bot. That’s the swap requirement but I’m hoping to do more.

Why all these blog/journal prompts? It helps to make “spontaneous” even more spontaneous by “steering” me in a different direction from what I would normally take. It challenges me to go outside of my comfort zone and try something new. And it comes in handy when I’m in a creative rut. I can just pick up a prompt and move from there.

There’s only so much that one can write and squeeze out of one’s thoughts based on a day-to-day existence.  It helps me draw out something else beyond the feeling of the moment, whatever that may be.  Others do it through drawings, I do it through words..

So I might yet finally finish one of my Journals on  Journey soon, as I think I’ve come to a “size” that I’m comfortable with.  One of the most difficult things for me to decide when creating a journal from scratch — as in literally putting the book together — is deciding how big or how small or how compact or thick it will be.  I was at Barnes & Noble over the weekend and I was almost tempted to grab one of the smaller notebooks..  I stopped myself only when I get reminded I can actually make one of those. =)

Tonight I have to keep busy with something else, but at least I’m starting to get organized here.

In search of a new art journal for 2013

I’ve already “trimmed” my old art journal.  Luckily, the bulging pages had created a more or less “even” book that allowed me to cut the left-over pages easily without causing an imbalance in the book.  I’ve been studying how I can put a cover on it, and hope to get that done tonight if not over the weekend.

I’m leaning towards a spiral sketchbook, but I’ve been thinking about sewing up my own art journal, too.  (Fickle, fickle-minded me.)  I already knew that Barnes and Noble had sketchbooks on sale, but the format was still something I hadn’t quite made up my mind about.  Format as in size — has always been a major point of consideration for me.  I didn’t want it to be too small, and I didn’t want it to be too big.  I started my art journal entries as postcard sized entries, then I went for an 8 x 8 square layout, after which I eventually floated towards a double page layout of a composition notebook.  I ended up creating layouts on poster paper and then pasted them onto the notebook.

In search of a new art journal
My first art journal has been a learning experience on many fronts for me.  I tried gesso and realized it did NOT work for me.  I dabbled in watercolor which was fine done on pre-pasted blank pages, but then worked best with separate pieces I worked on apart from the book.  By the time I had gotten adept with acrylic paint, I had stopped art journaling so I want to do more of that in the next.

I took a trip to the city today and saw the many choices for a sketchbook.
In search of a new art journal

I drifted towards this eco-friendly bound journal made from recycled paper.

In search of a new art journal
It was gorgeous but the pages were sewn together (eliminating it as a candidate for collages and the like), and the pages were paperback novel size which was just too small.  I might end up finishing up one journal in a matter of weeks which would necessitate getting more blanks.

In search of a new art journal

I guess that was that.  Then I stumbled into a shelf full of sketchbooks which were on sale.  I picked two up from Piccadilly, but I zeroed in on a Sketchbook – Black – Large..( Top wire-o – Unlined – Black wire-o ) plain black, spiral bound on top, with paper measuring 8 1/2 x 11.

Ambitious, I know.  Now that I’m cradling the book on my lap as I’m typing here, I’m wondering if I’m not getting in over my head with this choice of a formal for my next art journal.  The biggest positive about this choice is it is commercially available, so I can actually stock up on it.  I got it in a smaller format, too, the size of a steno notebook but unlined and with decent quality paper. (Although I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the smaller format.)

Happiness…

I am going to finish up the first art journal by creating a cover first then I have decided to work on layouts to get me going.  (Much like I’ve done with the altered book.)

I think it’s a good way to begin the new year — literally, a new beginning.

I am looking forward to another year of art journaling — and hope that it does the same if not more good than the first attempt did for me.

I journal because it helps me find a means to express what I feel and what I am going through in more concrete terms without reducing everything to words.  I also like going through the pages and I find myself marveling at the finished layout.  (“Did I actually do that?,” I ask.)  Sometimes a word or a simple scribble can actually capture a whole chapter in my life.

Perhaps when my memory starts fading, these pages will help me remember.  Or when the heart forgets, seeing the pages and reading the words there will help me remember the good and the bad and the lessons learned in between.  My art journal has no rhyme or reason.  Unlike the altered book which is supposed to be a happiness journal, this one is just a plain art journal.  It exists as a compendium of my attempts at art.

Scraps and My "Happiness" Journal: A Happy Life

I hate throwing away paper.  In fact I’ve been rather careful saving the bits and pieces of My Altered Book (a.k.a. My Happiness Journal) that I’ve been cutting out.  They might come in handy for “repairs” or do-overs, or I might need them for a totally unrelated layout.  Paper is paper.  When I like working with a certain “surface” or texture, I will save even the cut-outs.

I have painted flowers on such scrap papers with watercolor, drawn and defined them with a sign pen and then cut them out.  The idea is to use these flowers (most of them cartoon-like and whimsical) as embellishments for the “happy” pages of my book.  While I was doing these flowers, I was rather pleased with the way they came out and I am seriously thinking of doing a video of how I produced these embellishments.  Nothing so out of the ordinary, but rather a video for non-artists like myself to show that hey, we CAN do this, too, even if we don’t have the skill and talent of those artists whose works and layouts we drool over.

I even finished a card that is now on its way to my dear, dear friend P.  Watercolor background, and a collage of layered watercolored flowers.

Hand-painted card for P

One thing I’ve learned is that it helps to browse these great pages and look at the beautiful layouts of the real artists for inspiration.  While I cannot duplicate nor equal those masterpieces, they show me what colors I can look at working with, what styles I can try — and then render them in my own way, crude as it may be.  I try not to pressure myself about producing masterpieces — I just have fun.  (I know, it’s so cliche and sounds so “American Idol” like. LOL)  And I AM having fun.  Seeing my book progressing and the layouts taking shape one by one is very fulfilling, and that by itself helps to bring a smile to my face.

The Happiness Journal is a good way to force one’s self to look for optimism.  I end up browsing at least once a day for a happy or happiness quote I can add, and when I find one, I scribble it down or work on a layout that will represent it in my happy book.  At the end of the day, you find yourself remembering those positive thoughts and it actually stays with you.  No matter what happens that upsets that positive energy as your day unfolds, or when something allows frustration to creep into your heart, the “happy” exercise stays.  And at the end of the day, there is that time when I browse the pages yet again.  Even if it’s to paint another page a special color and do a certain layout, or just so I can see if the pages are holding up, the happy vibe stays with me.

I haven’t had the chance to do much today except “retouch” a few things I’ve already put in, and stamp one layout with a floral border.  I brought home a word art “block” I rendered in Microsoft Word with very elementary word art and I want to slap it on to one of the pages to get the journaling going.  Perhaps before the night is over.

Bits and pieces.

The pages are a work in progress simultaneously.  I am even skipping a whole set of pages to work on another layout first.  I have groups of pages all relating to one layout, and yet in those pages, you will find different entries.  (Eventually, that is.)  Time to sleep…

Desiderata in my Art Journal

I knew I had written about this poem before and you can click here for the original post written in 2006 where the full text of the poem appears.

Sometimes, one of the problems that stump art journalers (is there even such a word?) is what to write on something you had drawn or done.  I’ve been into trees lately (again, thanks to the folks at IUOMA) and although I’ve only done two postcards so far (and not feeling confident enough to trade away as it is), I decided I’d do a tree on one of my existing watercolor backgrounds.  But what to write?

I don’t know why after days and days of trying to decide on an apt quote to use, I finally decided I would do Desiderata on the piece.  I’ll write about that separately when it’s all done, but I rendered the poem in plain block print with certain phrases/sentences in bolder, bigger letters.  I feel like I did accomplish something in finally getting that done.  Now I’m trying to decide if I will do the journaling on the side or within the leaves of the tree.  (Decisions, decisions.)  So it isn’t quite done just yet.

ALTERED BOOK MULTI PAGE Meanwhile, I did something different with my altered book which was an idea that came to me after I painted another tw0-page layout.  I executed it last night and can’t wait to do what I intend to do with the cut up pages, but I’ve decided to lay the groundwork for the backgrounds first and then work on individual entries and prompts from there.  I wanted to create a multi-page layout which ends up with four sections on the right side of the page.  It would contain a four-section or four-letter word which would be spelled out on each “quarter” of the right side.  (I’ve started a new page on MY ALTERED BOOK where I will talk more about what I’ve been doing with the book in detail.) I’m quite happy with how things turned out and have moved on to my next experiment which is painting watercolor on book paper.    It just feels like I’m making strides..  You would have thought I was some crazy woman caressing the acrylic painted leaves of the altered book this morning on the bus.  The pages that have been painted or coated with acrylic paint on both sides have an almost fabric/thin tarp feel.  I almost don’t want to write on it for fear of ruining it! HA!

Scribblings and Cling stampWell, almost.  I did start on the page behind the cover and started to just scribble things after using a cling stamp.  No pressure in filling the blank squares up.  I’m just writing this way and that, scribbling the first thing that comes to mind about this altered book.

The day started rather gloomily with rain, but it did a complete turnaround by noon.  It became scorching hot outside so I opted to stay indoors.  I did come wearing my rain boots this morning and I’m thinking I’m better off going home with regular shoes.  (I hope I am not speaking too soon!)  It looks like the skies have cleared.

Can you believe August officially ends by Friday?  Where did the year go?  Before you know it, autumn will be here.  That didn’t quite hit me until I visited one of the blogs I bumped into because of Art Journal Every Day links on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s page.  Go visit gingerblue and get to know the art of Chel.  I don’t usually blog hop these days, and when I do, I have a set of younger bloggers I go and visit, but I am continually awed by the talent that oozes from the inspiring art journal entries that submit links to Julie’s page.  So once in a while I’ll leave a comment, and sometimes I get a note back.  (I totally don’t mind if I don’t.  I know how busy life gets.)  So Chel wrote back and I wrote another comment.  (This is going to be an ongoing thing, I am sure.)  But it is always good to acknowledge inspiration from those who give it to you.

I won’t be able to do it today but she’s definitely landing in my BLOG TRAILS.

My Altered Book

My Altered BookSo I picked a regular hard bound book — taped it up, and have started painting backgrounds. I’m on my 5th layout, I believe, and I’m hoping to do 3-4 more all throughout the day instead of waiting for the evening to do one or two. (Have to let the previous one dry before beginning the next.) I want to do collage but don’t know how much of that I can put in considering this is already bound. I don’t want to commit the same mistake I did with my art journal which is now bursting from end to end and I’m not even halfway through the composition notebook. (If I do stick with that book, it’ll mean a 3-4 inch compilation later.) But I like the learning I’ve been doing along the way. So now I know what paint to use and how rendering the layout outside the book and then pasting it in actually makes it easier for me for that project.

Good news is, I did bring the layout I was hoping to work with and another I wanted to finish. I want to work on that this lunch time. I was actually hoping I can make it out to the public area in the building across from where I work, sit, just pass the time, like so many people do, but it’s raining cats and dogs outside. My neighbor up on the executive floor is chiding me for never leaving my desk. (And yes, I hardly do.) I really should do that more often. It can be quite a good way to recharge.

And the weekend version of the Wall Street Journal is in — plus today’s papers! I’m almost all caught up with the newspaper collage postcards, provided I don’t fall back any further. I just need to make up one or two days from last week (have to check), and I’m all current again. A cursory skimming of the papers has me all excited because I see a ton of “clippable” and “collage-able” pieces from page to page. (“It is Art Journal Day today, D!” — have to remind myself or else I won’t get anywhere. LOL)

So I’m not touching the postcards today except to do my daily collage, and I’ve already addressed the three cards going out today. I had found this gorgeous pink flamingo postcards (or were they cranes?) which I offered up to the Philippine Postcrossing group and it was taken by one of my new postcard trading friends, Katherine. I like offering the special cards to the kababayans back home first because it makes the postage more worthwhile.

An altered pageWhat’s with the altered book anyway? It’s any book (a ledger, an old school book, notebook, diary, or other printed material) that is used in a way different from the original purpose it was meant to be. Others create paper sculptures out of a book, and others would use the book for a journal by painting over or writing over the original format. I choose to do art over it — or pretend art.. HA! =) I’m getting there, little by little. Today I started with the cover page which I had meant to be my dedication page. I’m still working on it. As I said, getting there.